Japan to take time phasing out Russian oil imports - PM Kishida
Japan will take time to phase out Russian oil imports after agreeing on a ban with other Group of Seven (G7) nations to counter Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday (May 9).
The G7 nations committed to the move "in a timely and orderly fashion" at an online meeting on Sunday (May 8) to put further pressure on President Vladimir Putin, although members such as resource-poor Japan depend heavily on Russian fuel.
"Although it is a very tough decision for Japan, which is heavily dependent on energy imports, the unity of the G7 is most important at a time like this now," Kishida told reporters, repeating comments he made at the G7 meeting. "We will consider the timing of the reduction or suspension of oil imports while gauging the actual situation," he said.
The Ukraine crisis has highlighted Japan's energy dependence on Russia even as Tokyo has acted swiftly and in tandem with the G7 in instituting sanctions. The latest ban underlines a turn in Japan's policy. Japan has said it would be difficult to immediately cut off Russian oil imports, which accounted for about 33 million barrels of Japan's overall oil imports, or 4%, for 2021.